*Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy. Photograph: Eamon Ward
An Ennis councillor has confirmed she does not wear red high heels when walking through Ballybeg Woods.
Parts of Ballybeg Woods “are quite mucky,” Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (FF) highlighted in her call for an examination on the feasibility of adding new gravel in Ballybeg Woods.
Paths will be examined, senior executive engineer in the Ennis Municipal District, Eamon O’Dea confirmed with required maintenance to be completed. “An application may be considered under the lower level ORIS funding for repair of specific pathways in the Wood,” he outlined. The walkway from the Water Tower has been delayed due to current restrictions, O’Dea confirmed.
A daily user of Ballybeg Woods, Colleran Molloy described them as “a fabulous amenity” used by individuals from a wide range of age-groups. “We know there will be new footpaths. It would be good to see an update on the lanes, a lot of them are really mucky and dirty”.
Including Lees Rd in the examination was appealed for by Cllr Mary Howard (FG) as she seconded the proposal. She agreed that the woods were “mucky and slippy”. Howard added, “We want people to be able to enjoy it. It is so important to protect, mind and maintain these little jewels in the crown”.
Use of the amenities has soared during the pandemic, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) noted. He asked that the local authority observe that some users traverse through the Rocky Rd to access Ballybeg Woods.
Mayor of Ennis, Cllr Paul Murphy admitted he was supportive of the motion “but the country lad is breaking out in me. Unless there is a bad case of flooding, they aren’t built for people to go out in their stilettos or high heels, if people wear the suitable attire there is no fear of them”. He spoke with the landowner on the Rocky Rd who was doing his best to facilitate access, “do we want to tarmacadam the Rocky Rd for them,” he jeered. “The Western Relief Road is perfect if they don’t want to get their shoes mucky. I like the roughness of the Rocky Rd and Ballybeg and to a lesser extent Lees Rd which is more municipal than countryside”.
“Nobody was looking the routes to be tarmacked. They were gravelled and have gone mucky. The surfaces on publicly owned trails need to be made safe, I’ve seen elderly people turn away from the trail in Lees Rd because of ponding,” Cllr Flynn responded.
Development of “these footpaths in the wood” showed “great vision” on the behalf of Clare County Council, Cllr Pat Daly (FF) felt. He backed the call for upgrading works.
Cllr Colleran Molloy informed the meeting, “I don’t use my red high heels from LK Bennett when walking in Ballybeg Woods, I have walking boots that I use even though that would be a comical image of me”. She stressed, “Nobody is saying to urbanise the woods. The hills can sometimes be very mucky and slippy, we want to prevent people falling”. On the issue of Rocky Rd, she said the landowner was not happy with the lack of co-operation from the local authority. Cllr Murphy clarified that he was not referring to his colleague with the high heels remark, “I’ve seen you in the boots,” he commented.